It’s a question that we get continually here on “Horsepower for an Hour” and it’s not the easiest question to answer. Both systems are forced induction which means they both literally force air into the engine, the idea being, the more air you can push into an engine the more power it will produce.
In terms of efficiency, the Turbocharger wins because it is not powered directly by engine rotation. The Turbo gets its power from the hot exhaust gasses being expelled from the engine. The exhaust gas passes by the turbine blade causing it to spin, the spinning motion causes the compressor side to turn and effectively push more air into the engine. One advantage is since the Turbocharger is not driven directly by the engine it can, (and does) spin much faster.
The Supercharger bolts to the engine and is driven by a belt that’s attached to the crankshaft. As the engine spins, it spins the blades in the Supercharger and forces more air into the engine.
Since engine rotation is needed to spin the Supercharger, it is not as efficient because it requires horsepower to make horsepower, but one huge advantage is it makes instant power whereas the Turbocharger typically has a time delay in noticeable response.
Both systems produce impressive power increases, and ultimately it comes down to personal preference, but here at Horsepower Broadcasting, we prefer the Supercharger. The instant power gains combined with reliability make it the preferred system for us, and it looks awesome cool bolted to the top of the engine. Another bonus with a Supercharger is it requires less maintenance than the Turbocharger and as with so many other situations in life….less means more, less headache and more tire sizzling excitement.
One of the best examples of a quality Supercharger system is designed and built by Magnuson Superchargers. Of all the systems we’ve researched the Magnuson is top tier.